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Half of respondents said they were launching data analytics initiatives, 47 percent said capturing patient experience metrics was on their plate, and 46 percent are looking into competitive benchmarking.
Respondents expect these technology initiatives to improve patient experience, clinical outcomes, and customer relationships.
“Analytics is a key element of the digital transformation we are currently witnessing throughout the health industry,” said Ernst & Young Principal and Health Analytics Advisory Leader Christer Johnson. “Without it, organizations are less equipped to capture value, control costs, maintain or grow market share, and improve patient outcomes in an increasingly competitive market.”
Healthcare organizations that have adopted technology to improve the patient experience in the past 12 months are more likely to feel well prepared for the future, the survey found.
Eighty-five percent of respondents feel very well or somewhat prepared to provide quality care amidst changing industry regulations and growing patient expectations.
“In the consumer-centric health ecosystem of the future, a focus on improving the patient experience will be absolutely critical,” said Ernst & Young US Health Deputy Leader Carole Faig.
“Patients, providers and payers alike benefit from the emerging technologies that provide the types of connected experiences already seen in other industries. The growing adoption of these digital initiatives is another indicator that US health care is now embracing the era of convergence,” Faig added.
While only 43 percent of executives have leveraged analytics to inform performance improvements in the past, the report found that it is the most planned initiative for health organizations over the next 12 months. Other key initiatives planned include capturing patient experience metrics (47%), competitive benchmarking (46%), improving patient experience (45%), and implementing digital health initiatives (44%).
“While concerns are present, it is encouraging to see health organizations across the US eager to accept and implement technology,” said Faig.
“Whether we are talking about improving health outcomes, patient experiences or internal operations, those who are embracing tech today will be more prepared as we enter the consumer-centric health industry of tomorrow.”
Perhaps reflecting this concern about the privacy implications of technology developments in healthcare, the American Medical Association (AMA) said in a recently approved policy statement it will promote the development of healthcare AI that safeguards patient privacy rights and preserves the security and integrity of personal information.
In addition, AMA will promote healthcare AI development that is designed and evaluated in keeping with best practices in user-centered design, is transparent, conforms to standards for reproducibility, identifies and takes steps to address bias and avoids introducing or exacerbating healthcare disparities.
The AI policy also states that AMA will:
• Leverage its engagement in digital health and other areas for improving patient outcomes and physicians’ professional satisfaction to help set priorities for healthcare AI
• Identify opportunities to integrate the perspective of practicing physicians into the development, design, validation, and implementation of healthcare AI
• Encourage education for patients, physicians, medical students, other healthcare professionals, and health administrators to promote greater understanding of healthcare AI
• Explore the legal implications of healthcare AI and advocate for appropriate professional and governmental oversight for safe, effective, and equitable use of and access to healthcare AI
“To reap the benefits for patient care, physicians must have the skills to work comfortably with healthcare AI,” said AMA Board Member Jesse M. Ehrenfeld.
“Just as working effectively with EHRs is now part of training for medical students and residents, educating physicians to work effectively with AI systems, or more narrowly, the AI algorithms that can inform clinical care decisions, will be critical to the future of AI in healthcare,” Ehrenfeld concluded.